May 30, 2012


Our adventure continues! We are moving. Unfortunately, it is not to a tiny house. Boo. However, it is a step (back) in the right direction.

Background - We have two houses. When we were young and stupid (okay - a little over three years ago!) we bought our new house without selling our old one. We have rented it since then to family. The mortgage there is a bit cheaper than the one in the house we bought and have been living in since September of 2008. So, we are switching! We are moving back into our less expensive house and out of our can-pay-for-itself more expensive house.

(house we are moving to)
There are huge pros to moving back:

  • Closer to my family, friends, and church (savings on gas!)
  • Huge backyard
  • Less expensive
  • Closer to "town"
  • Large workshop (could be turned into a tiny house!!!)
  • Good school system (if we stay for more than a year when Emma Grace will start school)
  • Really close to the gym and pool
There are some major cons:
  • Farther drive for Chad to work
  • Yard maintenance
  • Farther from Chad's mom and sister
  • No garage
  • Older house = more fixing things
  • Children's rooms upstairs
All in all, I am sure this is a good move for us. With all the purging we have done, we have a lot less to move. It will be great for the kids to not have an extra 15 minutes in the car almost everywhere we go. 

Although this house is not a tiny one, it is smaller - by about 200 square feet! Okay, from 2100 to 1900 is really not down-sizing, but we do plan on getting this one ready to sell and finding something smaller soon!

Or you can see in the picture that workshop peeking around from the back - it's 20 x 20. Perfect size for our first tiny house! If only is was 24 x 24 to meet code for this county. =( 

May 22, 2012

To drink or not to drink...milk

Family Post!

My daughter Emma Grace is two and a half. She never really has liked milk. She drank toddler formula for almost a year after her first birthday. Even after that, getting her to drink milk was not easy.

My son Elliott is 16 months. He has not taken to milk either. We just took him off toddler formula recently.

A few changes have found their way to my house in the past few weeks. Lisa over at The Pennington Point has done a series on intentionally parenting your toddler. It has really helped me with parenting!

One way is to tell my children what to do and expect them to do it. Like drink their milk! Now, every morning, I give them a cup of milk and they have to drink it before they can have anything different to drink. I am sure some moms will think of this as common sense, but it hasn't been for me - until now. AND they drink it. They have no problem drinking it. It's like drinking milk has not been a struggle for the past two years.

Then, this past weekend I had a girls weekend with my college roommates. My roommate, Marlaina, just moved back from Tanzania, Africa. She had to pasteurize her own milk. Then she added a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon to make it taste good. I tried this with my kids and they both drank TWO cups of milk yesterday! The vanilla adds flavor, but no sugar or HFCS!

Did your little ones take to milk right away?

May 21, 2012


I don't have a strong attachment to stuff. I did when I was little. I kept everything thinking I might have a use for it one day. It's a trait I learned from my oh-so-crafty Grandma. She kept every lid, jar, button, bead, piece of paper, card, or anything else and usually made things with the stuff she kept. When she passed away the task of cleaning out her house fell to my dad. It was mountains of things that could have been used for something ... but  it never was.

It really changed how I looked at "stuff." I can't keep things because I love the person who gave it to me. I can't keep things because it will hurt some one's feelings. I can't keep things just to have things! I have to do what is best for me and my family. Having things that don't have me is what is in my best interest.

That is very easy to type... but getting rid of your "stuff" is not easy! I have managed to make a huge dent in our huge amount of sentimental things.

We were able to purge all of my husbands trophies! Yay!!!

We got rid of furniture that some one who loves me gave to me, but it was way more important to them than it was to me. (It was a hope chest - I hope my relatives never have to find out!)

We have talked about getting rid of the piano - but that is a whole other post entirely, believe me!

I went through all the things I had planned to scrapbook back before I had kids. I kept most of the things and got rid of the scrapbooking supplies. I can see how you might say that I didn't get rid of the sentimental stuff, so why am I mentioning it... Okay, I agree. But I was able to put together a plan to get rid of the clutter - I am going to throw it all in a box and deal with it later! However, it must be a rather small box and I am limiting it to just that box. So I am getting rid of some of it! Yay, me!

(These are not my scrapbooking supplies. If it had been, I might have kept it - look how organized this all is!  However, these supplies and this picture belong to Scrapworthy Lives.)

We are keeping all our scrapbooks that I have already made.

We are getting rid of our school yearbooks, except for our senior years. However, some of the pages from the other yearbooks will go into the scrapbook box.

Wedding presents. People give out the most interesting conglomeration of stuff! I kept most everything - until now. I like fancy ... but I like it at my mom's house on her table with all her table cloths and china and other elegant serving pieces. I don't need my own set. It's just not where my life is right now. Holding onto all that just so I can one day use it seems like a waste of space to me now. Nothing is really that nice or expensive. It is all easily replaceable. I love the people who gave it all to me, but that is not a good enough reason to keep it.

However, I am keeping my china! It's just something I am not ready to part with. It is beautiful and I don't really have all that much. It fits in five small boxes and I know when we ever do get into a tiny house, my mother will gladly hold onto it for me. (She really don't understand all this down-sizing!) (Isn't it pretty!)

The things I am not ready to part with are: 

Whatever is in those boxes of "sentimental stuff" in the top of the craft closet (I'll get to it, it's just not top of my list right now)

Formal dresses, old Air Force uniforms, and sentimental clothes - I want my kids to have these to play with. I wore a bridesmaids dress of my mom's on a weekly basis to dance around the house in. I want my kids to have that if they are interested. And, I want to be able to pull out a few pieces of clothes to say look what I wore back then. It's not much, but it's still important to me right now.

Baby things. I haven't kept much. It's really just a few outfits from each child (some that are soooo tiny! I can't believe they were ever that little!!).

Clothes that belonged to my best friend from High School that her husband so graciously gave me after she was healed of cancer in heaven. I haven't kept everything, but I have kept somethings that are not practical for me to wear, but she loved, and so I need to keep them for now.

Diplomas and other framed certificates. I don't think it is practical to think we will make wall space for these in our tiny house, so they don't need to be framed and take up so much room, but I am not ready to disassemble them yet. If I had an office, I would take them to work.

Our initial plan for sentimental things was to keep only what would fit into my husband's foot locker. We aren't there yet, but we'll get there.

If you could only keep sentimental things that would fit in a foot locker - what would you keep?

May 9, 2012


So far I have only posted about our adventure. I have been negligent in writing about my family. Here is my sweet happy family:
Emma Grace is my sweet two and a half year old. She is way too smart for her own good and, as she will tell you, her favorite colors are pink and purple. She is mostly a carbon copy of me, except for the smarts and that she got directly from her dad. She will only wear dresses and loves shoes. She will change her shoes every few minutes and beg to sleep in them. God made her as girly as they come!

Elliott is my handsome little 16 month old. He loves his mommy and she (me!) couldn't be happier about it. He is just starting to talk even though he learned months ago. When he wants something, he can say it. When you want him to say something, you are completely out of luck. He is into everything and can break into anything that is "child-safe." God made him all boy!

Chad is my wonderful, brilliant husband. We have been married for over 7 and a half years and I can hardly remember life without him ... just a little joke - we met when I was five (see below for full story). He is a computer scientist by education, but a communications guy currently. He has great integrity. I thank God for choosing him for me.

My name is Jenni and I get to spend every day at home with my family. I went to school to be a teacher and did that for one year before becoming a flight attendant. Being a waitress in the sky was a means to an end with my end being my marriage to Chad. After we were married, I spent some time as a receptionist before returning to teaching. I taught elementary school at four different schools over 6 years and loved it. Now I love teaching my two precious children.

Chad and I lived down the street from each other growing up and he was my older brother's best friend. Later, we were in the same youth group at church and then in high school together. We went our separate ways in college, but saw each other on holidays. Then, after graduation, I took him to the airport two hours away on my way to a job interview. We made plans to get together when he got back from the wedding he was headed to. We did and we've been together ever since.

The most important part of our family is our heavenly father. We serve the Lord the best we can. We love our church and our community of believers. We believe in Jesus and that He is the way, the truth, and the life. If you want to know more, let me know. I can talk about my relationship with God as long as anyone will let me.

So, that's my family. Thanks for getting to know us!

May 3, 2012

The Bed Fiasco

Somethings that we got rid of /are getting rid of are things we use but are too large for our future space. One of these things was our king-sized bed. We had a great mattress that was only about a year old and a great bedroom set that we really liked. However, all that is replaceable and would not fit into a smaller home.

Our bedroom set, including our mattress, was the first thing we sold. We planned on using our queen sized air mattress as our bed until we could get a new bed. Haha! The best laid plans...

After only three nights of sleeping on the airbed, we woke up on the floor with some plastic and no air beneath us. Waking up on the floor when you went to sleep on a bed is not fun.

Enter my little brother's old full size mattress. My parents kindly let us borrow a spare mattress from their house. We do not have a truck, so we didn't bring the whole bed, just the mattress, stuffed into the van above our children's car seats and heads. So, for about a month, we slept in a full size mattress on the floor.

That experience was a great eye-opener for us. We had planned on buying a queen bed to replace our king. However, after being forced to sleep on the full, we found that we had plenty of room and liked the coziness. Having a full will give us more floor space in whatever house we choose.

We are really happy in our little full size bed. We have even spent one night in it with a sick two-year-old between us! Now, we just need to get some bed linens that fit it!!

Could you sleep in a full bed? Do you now?

May 2, 2012

Furniture We Kept

In my post, Purging Furniture, I told how we decided what would go:
We really want to move to a smaller, less expensive living arrangement. We are not sure where or what that will be, so we picked a really small apartment that we know of to use as a reference. If we were to move there, or somewhere similar, what furniture that we have would fit? What do we have that works for a small space? What doesn't? What do we have that we really don't love? Do we use it? Can we use it for something else?
Those same questions apply to what would stay. Here's what we kept:

Our couch - It's actually rather large, but very comfortable. It holds our whole family comfortably and it works for extra sleeping arrangements when we have company.

Our daughter's dresser - It was my dresser. I received it as a gift from my parents when I graduated with my Master's. My husband spent months refinishing it when I was pregnant with my daughter. It is big and holds so much. It could be used in almost any room of our new home, so it's a keeper.

Our son's crib - He uses it every night and most days, too. We didn't keep our daughter's crib, but we did keep her mattress and she now uses it in her toddler bed.

Our glider rocker - I love to rock. I know that I will be able to find a home for it easily if it doesn't fit in our new home, but I still need it when my children need to be held.

A small granite topped table - We call it the marble table, but I think the top is actually granite. It was my grandmothers and I love it. It is small and could work as a desk or prep surface in a kitchen.

4 wooden folding dinning chairs - We use these with our really large rustic table because the benches are not  safe for my children. They are still in boosters and you can't attach those to the bench. Also, spending any more time than eating takes on a bench does not a back make happy.

ALL of our Ikea Expedit bookcases! We have a few of these. Okay, we have five. One really big one, one not so big one, and three smaller ones. These are quite versatile pieces. They can be used in any room and even to make one room into two. Our largest one may end up on the chopping block due mainly to size.

The big one (5 x 5) is in our living room and holds our books. Since purging our books we only have 9 of the cubes with books in them. If lined up, they would fill less than that. The bottom row of cubes holds baskets of what was in our filling cabinet and some other odds and ends that need further purging.

The not so big one (4 x 4) is currently our dresser. It has eight baskets that hold our folding clothes and the top cubes hold our alarm clock, baby monitors, and my jewelry. The bottom four cubes are empty.

The three smaller ones (2 x 4) are used as our entertainment center, my son's dresser/toy shelf, and a buffet-like surface in our dinning room. We have baskets in most of these and use those baskets to store a lot of random things that still need to be gone through.

We have since bought some items to replace what we sold, mostly because what we needed was smaller.

What furniture would you keep if you were down to bare essentials?

May 1, 2012

Purging Furniture

Drawback to purging furniture: Most all the stuff we had fit into the furniture we had or the storage spaces in our house. Getting rid of most of our furniture revealed the clutter. If you don't have the furniture to put your stuff in, all you have left is clutter.

What we did: we really want to move to a smaller, less expensive living arrangement. We are not sure where or what that will be, so we picked a really small apartment that we know of to use as a reference. If we were to move there, or somewhere similar, what furniture that we have would fit? What do we have that works for a small space? What doesn't? What do we have that we really don't love? Do we use it? Can we use it for something else?

We used all these questions and more to decide what would stay and what would go. Here's a a partial list of what we purged and why.

China Cabinet - I LOVED my china cabinet. I love my china (that's another post)! It's a large cabinet and my favorite part was that the doors slid to the side to open instead of swinging out. It was beautiful and served a great purpose. It held all my entertaining items, seasonal serving pieces, china and crystal. However, since purchasing the cabinet to go in our current home, I have used my china ... get ready for it ... twice! Both times on Mother's Day.

King Size Bedroom Furniture - This may be self-explanatory, but it is just too big. In our current home, a king size bed fits well. Anything else looks rather small in the room. (I know this to be true now that we have our full size bed in there.) Any small house we live in will hold a full size. We would be hard pressed to find a small house that will hold our king sized furniture. We had the bed, two nightstands, a chest and a dresser. It was pretty though. It was the first thing to sell and sold to the first buyer who looked at it. (Kinda makes me wish we had asked a little more for it!)

We also sold my son's bedroom furniture. It was a really nice set. It had bunk beds, a dresser, and a desk. It had been my husband's as a child. It was a really difficult decision to get rid of it. We decided to let it go because we were keeping it for sentimental reasons and not because we needed or liked it. (The liked it part is all mine, I hated the drawer pulls. They were carved out of the wood and it would not have been easy to change them - and they were child sized, so getting your hand in them wasn't easy! Whoever made that decision should have been sacked!)

(The only good picture I had of the furniture was the desk, empty and sitting in our foyer - when we were trying to sell it.)

Church pew - I loved this piece. It was my sister and brother-in-law's. She got it when they split and it lived in storage for a few years. I rescued it and it has made my foyer welcoming ever since. She requested that we sell it, so we did. (I sold it on Craigslist to a man who has been hunting for one for years. The great story he told me makes me happy enough to not grieve it's leaving.)

Other things we purged: bar stools, desk, file cabinet with hutch, large grill, patio furniture, chairs, dinning chairs, crib, shelves, and more.

Things we still need to purge: huge rustic dinning table and antique player piano. Our table is still in use right now. We have tried to sell it, but since we are using it, we haven't tried really hard. The piano deserves a post all of it's own. (I'll get right on that.)

Thanks for reading. Have you purged your large items?